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Dialogic Materialism

Bakhtin, Embodiment and Moving Image Art


Miriam Jordan-Haladyn

Dialogic Materialism: Bakhtin, Embodiment and Moving Image Art argues for the relevance of Mikhail Bakhtin’s theories of dialogism as a means of examining the interdisciplinary nature of contemporary moving image art forms. The volume comprises six chapters divided into two sections. The first section, Part I, illustrates the key concepts in Bakhtin’s multifaceted dialogism and develops these ideas in relation to moving image art. The main focus of this first part is the proposal of what the author terms dialogic materialism, which builds upon the Marxism inherent in Bakhtin, examining the material processes of cultural exchange with a particular emphasis on multi-perspective subjective relations. Part II consists of case studies that apply dialogic materialism to the moving image artwork of three artists: Stan Douglas, Jamelie Hassan and Chris Marker. Applying Bakhtinian theory to the field of the visual arts provides a means of examining the fundamentally dialogic nature of moving image art making and viewing, a perspective that is not fully developed within the existing literature.
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I wish to express my gratitude to my colleagues, friends and family for their support and encouragement during this project.

This book began as a dissertation in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Western Ontario. I am grateful for the critical feedback and guidance given to me by my doctoral committee: Christine Sprengler, Janelle Blankenship and David Merritt. As my supervisor, Christine was particularly generous with her commentary and erudite advice. In addition, I would like to thank Margaret DeRosia and Susan Schuppli for their early support of my work, as well as Elizabeth Legge, Chris Gittings and Joy James for their invaluable advice. For their help in opening up the world of Bakhtin to me I thank Michael E. Gardiner, Clive Thomson, Anthony Wall and Mireya Folch-Serra.

I am indebted to Ron Benner for his meticulous reading of and moving response to my work. I cannot express the depths of my gratitude to Jamelie Hassan for allowing me access to her work and for being such a wonderful friend. The same is true for Janice Gurney and Andy Patton, with whom I had endless conversations and challenging discussions on art and dialogue that directly shaped my approach in this book. My profound gratitude for the continual support and encouragement of key individuals in my life: my father-in-law Andy, my mother-in-law Susan, my sister Kim, Donovan, Maureen, Madeline Lennon and Louise Hull.

Throughout the process...

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